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Tips from the Team: Keeping Down the Cost of Your Elective

Whether you're just starting to think about your elective or practically have your suitcases packed already, there are ways you can save money at every stage of the process. Here are some suggestions from the Medisense team on how to keep your bank account happy:

1. Stay in the UK

You'll save loads of money on travel costs as well as accommodation if you stay in your local area or with family/friends. People who have done their electives in the UK often report that they were treated almost like an F1, with lots of opportunities to improve existing skills and learn new ones, but with more flexibility to get out and enjoy the British summer time (if/when it appears).


2. Reach out to friends, family, friends of friends...

Doing your elective in a place where you have contacts could mean free accommodation, if you're lucky. At the very least, they will be able to offer invaluable local knowledge that could save you money on accommodation, travel, eating, drinking and shopping while you're out there.


3. Look into IFMSA

The International Federation of Medical Students' Associations is an organisation dedicated to international co-operation and collaboration between medical students. They offer a range of affordable clinical and research exchanges. Find out more at


4. Keep a budget

This doesn't sound very fun, and that's because it isn't, but if you don't keep track of costs from the beginning they can easily spiral out of control. Having a record will help you see where savings could be made and prioritise what money you have left over. Remember to budget for vaccinations and daily travel costs to and from your placement.


5. Apply for bursaries

Apply for as many as possible! Some of them are very generous, plus the applications don't take too long, can be multi-purpose, and might even count as a prize if you get it! The Royal Medical Benevolent Fund has a pretty comprehensive list of available bursaries here (, and your medical school may offer internal bursaries too.


6. Set up a flight price tracker

Don't just book the first flight you find! Websites like Skyscanner have a price tracking option, where you'll receive an email when the price of your flight changes.


7. Look into activities before you go

Electives are a fantastic opportunity to explore a new place and try things you've never done before, whether that's scuba diving or getting a selfie with a koala bear. However, if you don't do your homework, you might end up blowing your budget for the week on an activity only to realise that the money would have been better spent on something else. Plus, once you've chosen an adventure you want to experience, you can research which company offers the best value for money and often save by booking online in advance.


Thanks to Laura Stuart, Jess Leighton, Gabs Petruso, Morounshayo Oshodi and Hannah Rowley for their contributions.


If you’d like to contribute to the Medisense blog, we’d love to hear from you – send us an email at

Guest Blog: Team Medisense, 26.01.2019


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